We can’t republish the Waco Tribune-Herald’s full Q-and-A pieces with Texas State Board of Education incumbent Gail Lowe of Lampasas and her challenger in the District 14 Republican primary on May 29, Sue Melton of Waco. (The two articles are behind the Trib’s paywall; links are below.) But we did want to note how the two candidates answered questions about evolution and science education.

Lowe, who is part of the state board’s creationist bloc that worked to dumb down instruction on evolution in new science curriculum standards adopted in 2009, told the Trib’s editorial board that she’s not anti-science:

Q: The most common perception is you’re a dedicated creationist who wants to get more of that belief in public school textbooks and weaken the teaching of evolution in the classroom.

A: I am a person of deep, religious faith. I believe the Bible teaches that we have a creator. But I don’t believe ever at the State Board of Education level any of us ever advocated for the teaching of creation in our materials. I would like a more objective view of what we teach as creation. The complexity of the cell and the world around… Read More

It’s bad enough that Texas Gov. Rick Perry has appointed three anti-science creationists in a row to chair the State Board of Education. This weekend we read something that shines an even brighter light on the governor’s carelessness and even indifference when it comes to a deeply dysfunctional and hyper-politicized board that guides what millions of Texas kids learn in their public schools.

The Waco Tribune-Herald has published an interview with Gail Lowe, a Lampasas Republican who is seeking re-election to her District 14 state board seat. (The newspaper also interviewed Lowe’s opponent, Sue Melton of Waco, in the Republican primary for that seat. Subscription required for accessing either interview.) We were astonished to read that Lowe says she had no conversation with Gov. Perry when he appointed her to chair the board in 2009:

“I never spoke with the governor. I’m sorry, but that was not a personal relationship.

Wow. Seriously?

That’s a jaw-dropping revelation considering that Lowe’s appointment came at an especially sensitive moment for the board. The Texas Senate had failed to confirm the appointment of Don McLeroy, R-College Station, to a second term as chair of the state board. Senate rejections… Read More

Because of redistricting, all 15 seats on the Texas State Board of Education will be up for grabs in the November 2012 elections. The results of those elections will determine whether the religious right’s corrosive influence over public education will weaken or grow as the board considers what the next generation of public school students in Texas will learn about sex education, social studies, science and other subjects. We plan to publish on TFN Insider candidate announcements for a seat on the SBOE. We will publish announcements in no particular order, and their publication does not constitute any sort of endorsement by TFN. We will redact requests for contributions or mentions of fundraising events from the announcements, but we will provide links to the candidates’ websites (if available). Sue Melton, District 14, R-Waco (Current District 14 Board Member: Gail Lowe, R-Lampasas) Retired educator and small business owner Sue Melton on Dec. 5 filed paperwork to run for the District 14 SBOE seat currently held by former board chair Gail Lowe. Melton's website is meltonfortexas.com Why the State Board of Education? Why Now? As a recently retired educator of 36 years, I am very aware of what is happening in the classroom. Learning should be an enjoyable experience and teachers should be able to teach with creativity and enjoy teaching. Students and teachers need and want to be accountable for what goes on in the classroom, but, don’t need to be shouldered with all of the extra testing and requirements that they must meet. I believe that decisions made concerning what happens in the classroom should be made by educators who have been in the classroom and know what our children and teachers need. As a 4th generation Texan I have deep roots in our state and a strong foundation in traditional Texas values. A successful small business owner, my father taught me the value of hard work, determination and creativity while my mother instilled in me a love of learning and the value of education. I’ve known that it was my passion to help children learn and discover the world around them from an early age. My first experiences teaching were in my local church congregation working with children during Vacation Bible School and in the church day care. After receiving a strong education from my local public school system, I went on to
 receive a degree from Baylor University’s School of Education. Upon graduating from Baylor my formal career in education began and I quickly realized that there is a lot to learn about being a successful educator. More than 36 years later, my passion for educating the next generation of Texans has brought me a wonderful career and many opportunities to ensure that my students received the best education possible. During my years in the classroom I was honored to be the recipient of the Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence and to be twice named to Who’s who Among America’s Teachers. Read More

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